Welcome to the City of Fremantle Symphony Orchestra – a community orchestra and one of Perth’s most vibrant community groups.
The orchestra is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion and enjoyment of music in the cultural life of Perth. With a regular membership of about 60 amateur musicians we present about 5 concerts each year including a subscription series of concerts at the Fremantle Town Hall and performances in other venues around Perth. In past years the orchestra has toured to Albany, Busselton and Margaret River.The group originated in 1961 with the formation of the Melville Orchestral Society, which became the Melville Symphony Orchestra. In 1981 the orchestra became the Nedlands Symphony Orchestra. In 1993 the orchestra took on its current name.
Highlights of recent years include Mahler’s Symphonies No. 1 and No 2, Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2, symphonic works by Shostakovich, Bartok, Saint-Saens, Bruckner and Rachmaninov and a recent collaboration with UWA Choral Society to present Verdi’s Requiem.
Our musical director David Pye has a proud history of leading the orchestra through major symphoic works for large orchestra. In September 2006 the orchestra assembled more than 100 players for a full-scale performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. In September 2009, in one of the most ambitious projects undertaken by a community orchestra, we performed Percy Grainger’s massive work The Warriors, scored for huge orchestra and percussion ensemble, in collaboration with Defying Gravity Percussion Ensemble and the Totally Huge New Music Festival.
In 2011 the orchestra celebrated its 50th birthday with gala concerts and the commissioning of a major new work from David Pye – Quinquagenta (A concerto for orchestra).
The orchestra is run by a voluntary committee – visit our contact us page for committee details.
Recorded classical music has its place, but nothing can beat the emotional impact of great music performed live, the electric atmosphere of the concert hall, watching the orchestral players and the thrill of witnessing a great conductor or soloist creating something extraordinary or beautiful.
Orchestral concerts have traditionally been very staunch, formal affairs. We try to make our concerts more relaxed occasions; for example:
- encouraging our conductors or soloists to introduce the work to the audience before it’s played
- you can meet the players over a drink at interval or after the concert
We play music that appeals to a wide audience – Brahms, Beethoven, Tchaikowsky, Mendelssohn, Stravinsky…
>Make a day of it
Fremantle, the port city renowned for its easy yet vibrant lifestyle. Within easy walking distance of the Town Hall visitors can experience:
- cafes serving some truly fine coffee
- excellent restaurants
- great shopping
- fine crafts, exciting galleries and bookshops
- Fremantle fishing boat harbour
- Fremantle Maritime Museum
- the unique and beautifully restored architecture of the port city
- bars, pubs and clubs
>Home grown talent
As well as providing an outlet for the talents of about 60 of Perth’s finest amateur musicians, the FSO is a great training ground for aspiring instrumental soloists, conductors and composers.
In addition to our esteemed musical director David Pye, in recent years the orchestra has worked with well-known Perth conductors Joel Migdal, Lawrence Jacks, Alan Bonds, Geoffrey Lowe, Kevin Gillam, Chris Sears, Burhan Guner, Bruce Herriman, Warwick Potter, Jessica Gethin, Dr Robert Braham, Professor Alan Lourens, Peter Moore, Jon Tooby and Christopher van Tuinen.
The FSO Young Conductors Program started in 2004 and enabled the orchestra to forge new relationships with young conductors Jessica Gethin and Tom O’Halloran while giving them an opportunity to develop their skills under the guidance of a more experienced conductor.
The orchestra actively seeks out talented young Perth instrumentalists to feature as soloists in our symphony concerts. For many years we have offered the winner of the Fremantle Eisteddfod a soloist engagement.
In recent years our soloists have included Jessica Ipkendanz (violin), Leanne Glover (oboe), Rod McGrath (cello), Penelope Reynolds (soprano), Anna O’Hagan (violin), Jon Tooby (cello), The Robert Schumann Ensemble (piano trio), Duncan Gardiner (guitar), Deborah Ng (piano), Natalie Dixon (flute), Michael Hodgkins (clarinet), Sara Herriman (violin), Dominic Perisinotto (Pipe Organ), Bronwyn Wallis (harp), Kathryn McKay (viola), Sean Woodcock (piano), Kathy Chow (piano), Anne Millar (contralto), Defying Gravity (percussion ensemble), Danielle Joynt (presenter), Matthew Hinchliffe (saxophone), Alexandra Isted (violin).
The orchestra has established a partnership with the much-loved Perth choir University of WA Choral Society. Together, the orchestra and UWACS have performed Verdi’s Requiem, Mahler’s Symphony No 2 and Orff’s Carmina Burana in recent concerts.
The orchestra has an established policy of performing and commissioning new works by Western Australian composers. We commissioned Bill Stewart to write Fanfare for Fremantle and, with the assistance of the Australia Council, in 2006 we commissioned David Pye to write an Oboe Concerto for well-known Perth oboist Leanne Glover. In 2008 we performed the world premiere of David Pye’s Fantasy for Clarinet and Orchestra. In recent programs we have featured the works of composers Iain Grandage, Jeff Carroll and Richard Wise.
>Fremantle Town Hall
Our regular concert venue, the Fremantle Town Hall, is a magnificently restored small concert hall.
The hall was officially opened on the 22nd June 1887, to coincide with Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. It has gone through many changes since then which culminated in 1986 with the Town Hall being re-opened by the Honourable R.J.L. Hawke, Prime Minister of Australia. Fully restored to its original grandeur; it is a shining example of 19th Century classical architecture
We love playing there because the acoustics are ideal for a symphony orchestra.